Joel Lebel

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Personal Statement: 

Research Interests:

Philosophy of Mind and Imagination, Chinese and Western Metaphysics, Classical and Contemporary Political Philosophy, Confucianism, Daoism, Hannah Arendt, Futures Studies

Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy seeks the inclusion and engagement of all participants in the course by fostering the development of two co-related concepts. Firstly, I believe it is important to create a meaningful sense of classroom community. By viewing the classroom as a real community a diverse range of backgrounds and interests can manifest themselves and I can take the role of facilitator as opposed to the ultimate authority on a given subject. Community development remains an active process that requires workshops and activities scheduled throughout the semester in order to build the mature community needed for inquiry and discussion-based class periods. The second key concept that defines my teaching style is the idea of intellectual safety. An intellectually safe classroom is one where all participants feel comfortable and encouraged to share their insights and questions without fear of judgment or negative response. Each specific community must determine the exact parameters of what counts as intellectually safe, but overall the idea is to allow the space for a wide diversity of students to feel safe about formulating and discussing their own ideas. Additionally, intellectually safe classrooms are also an ideal environment for including non-traditional students and backgrounds.

My presentation style varies greatly and rarely relies on a standard lecturing format. Because of this, active learning techniques make up the vast majority of my style. My students are the primary contributors of discussion questions, reading responses, and debatable claims that make up the core of our engagement with a text or philosophical problem. Since intellectual safety and classroom community are the priority I have had great success with broad student participation and active learning. Other examples of active learning in my classroom are: small group thought experiments and problem solving, students peer editing pieces of writing, and mini- presentations based on relevant online media. My courses are also well-adapted to the multimedia environment and incorporate animated presentations, movie clips, online videos, podcasts, and other pieces of popular culture to inspire and compliment synthesis and analysis of assigned primary and secondary texts.